Trichomoniasis, sometimes referred to as "trich" or the ping pong disease, is a common sexually transmitted disease that affects 2 to 3 million Americans yearly. It is caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Trichomoniasis is primarily an infection of the genitourinary tract; the urethra is the most common site of infection in men, and the vagina is the most common site of infection in women. more...
Trichomoniasis, like many other sexually transmitted diseases, often occurs without any symptoms. Men almost never have symptoms, while 20% of women are asymptomatic. When women have symptoms, they usually appear within 5 to 28 days of exposure. The symptoms in women include a heavy, yellow-green or gray vaginal discharge, discomfort during intercourse, vaginal odor, and painful urination. Irritation and itching of the female genital area, and on rare occasions, lower abdominal pain also can be present. In about two-thirds of infected females, there is edema, inflammation, cell hypertrophy and metaplasia. The symptoms in men, if present, include a thin, whitish discharge from the penis and painful or difficult urination.
Research has shown a link between trichomoniasis and two serious sequelæ. Data suggest that:
- Trichomoniasis is associated with increased risk of transmission of HIV.
- Trichomoniasis may cause a woman to deliver a low-birth-weight or premature infant.
Additional research is needed to fully explore these relationships.
Use of male condoms may help prevent the spread of trichomoniasis, although careful studies have never been done that focus on how to prevent this infection.
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